We are in the thick of it. Winter, that is. The days are cold, dense gray clouds hide the sun most of the time. The plants and trees sleep peacefully, unresponsive to the winter light. I search for color. I find it in my daughter’s hazel green eyes, my new nephew’s perfect pink lips, the seldom blue sky; the occasional holly bush I spot on my morning run. I would welcome a foot of snow, now. Anything to brighten up this fallow landscape.
Fake it til’ you make it. Do what you need to. So I hop in my car, crank the heat and drive to the grocery store. I linger in the produce and flower sections. The colors and fragrance sooth my winter weary spirit. I grab as much citrus as I feel necessary. Blood oranges, lemons and a few apples. Every so often, I grab a bouquet of out of season tulips or daffodils. Spring will come, it has to.
I eat one blood orange, hoping the vitamin c will help my immune system fight the latest stomach bug that plagues our house. I slice another blood orange, remove the seeds and marvel at the color. I grab a lemon and slice it. The bright smell wakes me up. I toss the citrus with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 425F for about 15 minutes. Roast? Yes. According to Bon Appetit, the high heat will caramelize the natural sugar and add depth to the fruit. They seem to know what they are talking about. While the citrus cools I prep the rest of the salad.
I rip apart the kale and massage it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Within a few minutes the kale softens and becomes edible. I toss the kale into a large bowl with the prepared onion and roasted citrus. Add a quarter cup of silvered almonds for crunch and a bunch avocado slices for creaminess. I drizzle the entire salad with a tablespoon of agave nectar and season it with a bit more sea salt and pepper. After I gently toss the salad, I take a big bite. Healthy and fresh, this citrus salad is just what I need to get through these winter days.
Roasted Citrus, Kale + Avocado Salad
A healthy kale salad with roasted citrus, avocado and silvered almonds. A few slices of red onion add a nice bite and a drizzle of agave nectar balances the subtly tart lemons. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
1 blood orange, sliced 1/8″ thick, seeds removed
1 lemon, sliced 1/8″ thick, seeds removed (try to get a Meyer lemon, as they are a bit sweeter than a regular lemon)
4 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 avocado, sliced into wedges
1/4 cup silvered almonds
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Toss orange and lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a bit of kosher salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the citrus for 10-15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until citrus starts to caramelize and is a bit charred. Allow to cool.
Using a large bowl, mix onion with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and let stand for about 5 minutes. (This process helps the onion soften a bit.) Set aside.
Place prepared kale in a separate large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Massage the kale with your hands for 3-5 minutes. The kale will soften a bit and that is a good thing!
Add kale, roasted citrus, mint and silvered almonds to the bowl with the onion. Drizzle with scant 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of agave nectar. If necessary season with sea salt and pepper. Just before you are ready to serve the salad, add the avocado and gently toss. Enjoy!
5 Winter Salad Links You Must Check Out!
I love candied pecans, especially when thrown into a salad. If you like them too, check out two peas & their pod’s recipe for apple, grape, candied pecan salad with maple mustard dressing!
Need a go to green salad? Head to Cookie + Kate for Kate’s green salad with apples, cranberries and pepitas. Yum!
Smitten Kitchen’s endives with oranges and almonds and spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette are on my must make list this month!
I love fresh dates. I especially love when stuffed with cheese. If you are a fan of cheese stuffed dates, check out Food 52’s recipe for citrus salad with goat-cheese stuffed dates. My mouth is watering!
As many of you know, I am running the Boston marathon (my first marathon!) this year for a fantastic non-profit, YES, that helps Boston’s inner-city youth with outdoor, enrichment and leadership development programs. Please consider making a donation to this fantastic charity. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity. Head to https://www.crowdrise.com/youthenrichmentboston2015/fundraiser/kellyfitzpatrick1 to donate online or learn more about YES.